On January 15, 2011, the Governor released her proposed budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2011. Our part of the budget in the link above is on pages 105 through 111.  You kinda need to be a budgeteer to understand some of it, so I’ll try to distill it down a little in several posts this week.

Behavioral Health Provider Reimbursement Reduction

Beginning on April 1, 2011, we’ll be reducing the amount that we reimburse our providers of behavioral health services by 5%.  We won’t be reducing our payments for some things like prescription drug costs or inpatient treatment, so the overall reduction will be about 3%.  We plan on continuing that same reduction through next fiscal year, so the Governor’s proposed budget reduces our budget by about $14M as a result of those savings.

Vital Records Self-Funding

The Governor’s proposed budget also recommends that we begin self-funding Vital Records (like we did our Licensing programs last year).  Our Vital Records general fund budget would be reduced by $1.2M, but we would be allowed to increase our fees to $19 for the birth and death certificates that we sell at our shop and we’d be able to charge the counties a $4 surcharge on the certificates that they sell (they use our database for their Vital records system).

We’d be able to keep most of the money that we collect, which will allow us to pay for our staff and invest in our computerized vital records system, including Internet‐based death registry and an internet‐based birth registry as well. Our current system is largely out of date because the software we use is no longer supported by the developer.  We’d be able to use up to $3.6M of our new revenue to update and maintain the Vital Records System and anything we collect after that would be deposited into the state’s General Fund.

There are several benefits to self‐funding Vital Records. In addition to saving over $1.2 million General Fund each year, we’d generate additional revenues to the General Fund of approximately $400K per year.  Most importantly, we’d be able to upgrade our system software/hardware and meet new standards for getting federal grants. Finally, the system will become more centralized, allowing clients to access records with more timeliness and accuracy.